The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) returned to Naval Station Mayport following a three-month deployment, April 24. Donald Cook departed Naval Station Mayport in January on a short-notice deployment to operate with NATO Allies and partners in the Eastern Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea. The crew spent more than 70 days at sea and conducted three port visits in support of maritime security partnerships in Copenhagen, Denmark; Rostock, Germany; and the Isle of Portland, England. The ship received warfare excellence awards in communications, engineering and ship safety while underway.
“Visiting other counties as a representative of the United States is surreal. People told us how nice Americans are everywhere we went, and we were shown amazing hospitality by the civilians of other NATO countries. There’s no better feeling than making a positive impact on other people’s perspective of America,” said Fire Controlman (Aegis) 2nd Class Brady Itkin.
“The crew put in a lot of hard work over the past year. This recognition is definitely a testament to all of our efforts,” said Ensign Benjamin Steen, electronic warfare officer aboard Donald Cook.
“The crew demonstrated their tenacity by executing multinational exercises and national tasking on short notice during this surge deployment. Our operations over the past few months have demonstrated our proficiency and capability as well as reaffirming our commitment to the NATO Alliance. I could not be more proud of the resiliency and professionalism the crew displayed during this deployment,” said Cmdr. Matt Curnen, commanding officer of Donald Cook.
While deployed, Donald Cook participated in NATO Exercise Dynamic Guard 2022 in the North Sea. Dynamic Guard, hosted by Norway, is a biannual, multinational electronic warfare exercise series designed to provide tactical training for the NATO Response Force and NATO national units. For the first time in three years, two U.S. vessels participated to further enhance the ongoing cooperation, strength and interoperability between NATO Allies. Donald Cook is scheduled to start a major maintenance availability, their first since returning from their former homeport of Rota, Spain, in June. U.S. 2nd Fleet, reestablished in 2018 in response to the changing global security environment, develops and employs maritime forces ready to fight across multiple domains in the Atlantic and Arctic in order to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.